MSc Health Psychology

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Dissertation

Unit code PSYC60010
Credit rating 60
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Under supervision students will produce a research dissertation. This will involve identifying research questions, developing the design of a research project, carrying out the research, analysing the data and then writing up the project in the format of a paper for an academic journal. A list of potential projects and supervisors will be provided before the start of Semester 1 from which students will identify preferred projects and supervisors. We will attempt to match students to their preferred project supervisor wherever possible. The supervision period will extend across the whole academic year (semester 1 & 2 and the summer; over two years for part time students). In addition to presenting the dissertation in the form of a journal article, students will also prepare and present a poster on their dissertation findings, and produce a summary of their research suitable for a lay audience. In support of this work students will receive instruction on writing at Masters Level; poster presentation; conducting ethical research and gaining ethical approval. They will learn about the BPS ethical code and receive detailed guidance on how to obtain the necessary approvals from the relevant review bodies (such as NHS REC, R&D and University REC boards).

Aims

  • Provide students with a unique experience of designing, conducting and reporting an independent, original research project.
  • Enable students to critically appraise and synthesise published research
  • Enable students to formulate and work with a relevant research question
  • Ensure students gain an understanding and application of appropriate research and data-analytic methodologies
  • Develop research-writing and presentation skills
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate complex data to a suitable audience.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will:

  • Have an in-depth understanding of the literature in a specific area of health psychology for students registered on the MSc in Health Psychology and in a specific area of clinical and/or health psychology for those registered on the MSc in Clinical and Health Psychology
  • Understand how to identify an appropriate research question.
  • Understand the requirements of scientific writing and data presentation.
  • Understand the ethical issues and processes involved in research.
  • Be fully conversant with relevant ethical guidelines and the procedures involved in gaining ethical and other approvals.
  • Generate timely and theoretically grounded research questions.
  • Identify and employ the appropriate research methods and analysis techniques necessary to answer their research question.
  • Be able to interpret data and the clinical implications of analyses.
  • Conduct appropriate analytic techniques, working with relevant software when appropriate.
  • Implement and manage appropriate data collection techniques.
  • Manage and work with datasets.
  • Be able to present the study and its findings in academic style and present it in the format required for publication in a relevant periodical.
  • Be able to communicate findings suitably for a lay audience.
  • Produce a research poster summarising the research dissertation implementing good design techniques
  • Demonstrate independent thought, presentation skills and self-management project skills (e.g. time management, prioritisation of tasks).
  • Develop professional skills in working with others (e.g. supervisor, participants, other professionals as appropriate).

Teaching and learning methods

Learning will largely be through regular individual or small group meetings with a nominated project supervisor, guided reading, and independent, self-directed learning. Formal, taught sessions will also be provided on topics such as ethics and poster presentation skills.

Assessment methods

  1. Research proposal - 2,000 words (worth 15%). This will outline the rationale for, design of, and methods to be used in the project. It will also require consideration of ethical concerns and how these will be addressed.
  2. Ethical application. Students will write and submit an ethical application for peer review and amend the application based on their feedback (pass/fail).
  3. Dissertation: Project report, written in the format of a journal article - the length required by the selected journal (from 5,000 to 10,000 words) (worth 70%)
  4. Lay Summary: A summary of the research written for lay audience - 500 words (worth 5%).
  5. Research poster presentation (worth 10%)

Dissertations will be marked by two examiners, including the supervisor.

 

Recommended reading

  • American Psychological Association (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. APA, Washington DC
  • Bem, D.J.B. (2003). Writing the Empirical Journal Article In, Darley, J. M., Zanna, M.P., & Roediger III, H. L. (Eds) (2003). The Compleat Academic: A Practical Guide for the Beginning Social Scientist, 2nd Edition. APA, Washington DC
  • British Psychological Society (2013). Ethics Guidelines for Internet-mediated Research. BPS, Leicester
  • British Psychological Society (2014) Code of Human Research Ethics. BPS, Leicester
  • Field, A. (2005). Discovering statistics using SPSS (Second ed.). Sage, London.
  • Field, A. & Hole, G. J. (2002). How to Design and Report Experiments. Sage, London

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 6
Project supervision 16
Independent study hours
Independent study 578

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Lynsey Gregg Unit coordinator

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